Traditional & Culture

Asakusa’s 2023 Sanja Festival Is Almost Upon Us!

This Japanese festival happens every spring, and it’s about to start!

A Traditional Japanese Festival in Asakusa, Tokyo

Today we’re talking about Sanja Festival, also known as Sanja Matsuri (三社祭), or the festival of three shrines. It’s a yearly event centered around Asakusa, known as perhaps the most traditional area of Tokyo, and many of the major festival events revolve around Asakusa Shrine – a Shinto shrine within the precincts of the Buddhist Sensoji Temple. For just a few days each year, as spring turns to summer, festival-goers can participate in traditions that have been going for hundreds of years, as Tokyo turns back to its Edo roots.

Asakusa Sanja Festival (三社祭)
Event Dates: May 19 ~ May 21, 2023
Location: Asakusa Shrine
Access: Asakusa Station
Official Website (jp)

Sanja Festival: A Fun Part of a Summer Trip to Tokyo!

While the festival is based at the Asakusa Shrine, like many traditional Japanese festivals, a large part of it is a parade or procession of participants walking the streets of the Asakusa neighborhood. On their shoulders these participants carry mikoshi (神輿), or portable shrines, decked out in beautiful gold and fabric decorations. They glitter in the sunlight and they’re beautiful to watch slowly carried along the street. Watching the parade is so popular, it attracts almost 2 million people every year! Join the crowd and hang out with tons of Tokyoites and visitors alike.

Things to See:

1. The Mikoshi Shrine Procession

2. Traditional Binzazara Dances

Image Source: Official Website

3. The Surrounding Stalls and Festivities

Image Source: Official Website

Get Out There and Join the Festivities This May!

Take a trip to see the Sanja Festival, and you’ll get a good sense of all the fun of Japan’s many summer festivals, without the miserable heat and humidity of mid-summer. It’s a perfect chance to see a beautiful mikoshi procession, like those still carried out all around Japan, along with a more unique binzazara (traditional Japanese instrument) dance. So throw on a yukata and get out there, you won’t find a more exciting way to spend a May weekend!

(Once you’re in Asakusa, if you want another unique experience, go kitchen knife shopping at Tsubaya!)

For more info and updates from Japan, check Japankuru for new articles, and don’t forget to follow us on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook!

⇩ Get a preview of the festival right here! ⇩


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